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LinkedIn: How to get started
The future is digital – including your CV. Read our guide to building your profile from scratch.
What you will learn
- The benefits of having a LinkedIn account throughout your career
- How to use LinkedIn to your advantage
- How to set up a LinkedIn account
- How to connect with people in your industry
In today’s digital world, having an online CV is hugely beneficial in opening the doors to new career opportunities and networks. This is why LinkedIn has become the ultimate social network for business professionals.
LinkedIn gives individuals the ability to showcase their skills, talents and achievements on one page. With over 700 million members it’s becoming increasingly popular with employers and recruiters looking to hire new talent.
In this guide we'll take you through the benefits of making your own LinkedIn profile and how to get started.
Why should you make a LinkedIn profile?
Aside from being free, LinkedIn is a great way to be noticed by recruiters. Your LinkedIn profile is essentially an online version of your CV, which gives you the opportunity to advertise your achievements within your career and education. This means that you can easily send the URL of your profile to potential employers in place of a physical CV and be available to opportunities 24/7.
Search for new opportunities. LinkedIn is known for being a robust job board. You can use the intelligent search function to find jobs that suit your abilities, similar titles to the ones you have previously held, find jobs in specific locations, set up alerts to stay in the loop and even apply for jobs within the site. The social network is brimming with opportunities and you can let recruiters know that you are open to hearing about new roles by turning on your “I’m Interested” button when setting up your profile.
Say goodbye to business cards. Make a lasting impression with your contacts and connect with them on LinkedIn. By connecting with people you know, people you’re interested in working with or even following those who share content you like, your LinkedIn feed keeps you on top of new opportunities and news within your field.
One of the biggest benefits of creating your LinkedIn profile is being able to network with mutual connections, your contacts and even users you look up to. In light of public events being postponed or cancelled this has become increasingly important. Networking over LinkedIn will help you to build new working relationships, expand your knowledge and make you open to new opportunities.
How to get started on LinkedIn
Getting started on LinkedIn is simple.
Setting up your account
When setting up your account LinkedIn will ask for an email address. Make sure this is one you check often so that you will be notified when you have a connection request, messages and more. Your basic information should be up to date with your current location, phone number and employment status. Your employment status is a brilliant way to highlight to employers that you are open to opportunities.
You can edit the visibility of your account. You can control who sees your profile and to what extent, if you are looking for new opportunities it is recommended that your profile is visible to all members as recruiters will be able to search your profile without having to request to connect.
When selecting your profile photo, make sure it is professional. A simple headshot facing the camera on a neutral background will do.
Experience and skills
This is your time to shine. Make a list of your relevant employment history. Outline the key skills gained when working in that role and highlight all the important things you can do. Top Tip: Looking at job advertisements of positions you would like to secure is a great way to check off skills you may have already achieved at a previous workplace.
Listing your previous education makes it easier to build your network. You can connect with old classmates, lecturers or staff. Education doesn’t necessarily have to be schools, if your education was gained through training groups or certification through a previous employer this is still relevant and should be included within your LinkedIn profile.
Summary and headline
Your summary is a short way to introduce yourself and get recruiters to continue onto your full profile. Think of how you would like your first impression to be with your future employer. Highlight your key skills and goals for the future. Not all headlines have to include your current position, especially when looking for a new opportunity. If you have a key skill or are specialised in a specific industry, let others know and use that space to show it off.
Build your network
Once you've uploaded your profile photo, included all your experience and typed up your summary, it’s time to build your network.
If you’ve included up to date information, such as your phone number, you’ll be able to pull your contacts from there. You can also use the search function to look for specific individuals and workplaces to connect with people you know.
Once you’ve started to invite users to connect with you, your feed will start to populate with posts. You can also follow companies you’re interested in to stay in the loop with their news. Now you’re ready to start networking and posting your own content.
LinkedIn is not like other social networks - always keep it professional and post in a responsible manner. This is your opportunity to influence how recruiters and potential employers see you from the start of your career.
Yes, you can find advertised vacancies on LinkedIn and set up job alert emails – but your connections are where it really makes a difference to your job search. Start with:
- People you currently work with or have worked with in the past
- Clients and customers you’ve worked closely with
- People who studied the same course as you
- People you’ve been in clubs with
- Lecturers or teachers
- Friends and family
Once you’re connected, you can ask people who you know to endorse your skills or give you a recommendation. You could ask a former employer, client, someone you’ve done work experience with, a teacher or lecturer to write a short recommendation.
Connecting with people in your industry
You can use LinkedIn’s search to find people who could help you build your career.
Using the advanced search, you can identify people in particular job roles or companies, or narrow things down by location.
After connecting with someone, you can take a look at previous companies they’ve worked for and check out the ‘People also viewed’ box. This could lead you through to find more potential employers or connections.
Set up your LinkedIn account now.
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Reaching out and presenting your best self to new people can feel daunting. But there are ways to help you prepare to put your best foot forward.